The UK Global Talent Visa is a highly beneficial fast-track immigration route for leaders and potential leaders in the fields of academia or research, arts and culture and digital technology.
What is the Global Talent visa?
The Global Talent visa is specifically intended to provide a fast track to immigration for people from around the world with experience in the fields of academia or research, arts and culture and digital technology. The Global Talent visa replaced the Tier 1 (exceptional talent) visa in February 2020. The program is open to leaders and potential leaders in the areas of:
- Academy or research
- Arts and culture
- Digital technology
- Fashion design
- Cinema and television
- Humanistic studies
Global Talent visas are generally granted for a maximum of five years, after which they can be extended for another period of one to five years. Alternatively, Global Talent visa holders can choose to apply for severance (i.e. indefinite leave to remain – ILR) after three years for a leader and five years for a potential leader.
The Global Talent visa is of a higher standard than other UK work visas and therefore offers additional benefits. With a Global Talent visa you will be able to:
- come to the UK without meeting the English language requirements or having a job offer
- work for a company in the UK
- be self-employed
- become a director of a company
- change or stop doing your job without notifying the Home Office
- bring your partner and children with you as your dependents
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- apply for ILR after just 3 years (for leaders)
Eligibility requirements for the Global Talent Visa
To be eligible for a Global Talent Visa, you must be:
- more than 18
- a leader or potential leader in academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology
- be approved by an approval body
- Unlike many other types of UK visas, there are no salary or English language requirements.
- Business endorsement
Choice of approval body
Critical to successfully submitting an application for a Global Talent Visa is that you must obtain approval to demonstrate that you are a leader or potential leader from an approved approving body. 1. You will not need approval, however, if you have an eligible award (see below). The approving body you need to approach for approval will depend on your field of work. The main approving bodies of the Global Talent Visa are the following:
The main endorsement bodies for the Global Talent Visa are as follows:
Arts endorsing bodies • Arts Council England
- British Fashion Council
- Royal Institute of British Architects
- Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Exceptional Talent applications only)
Digital Technology endorsing bodies • Tech Nation
Science, engineering, humanities and medicine endorsing bodies • The British Academy
- The Royal Academy of Engineering
- The Royal Society
- UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Factors taken into consideration by the approving bodies
The endorsing body you apply to will consider a wide range of factors in determining whether you are a leader or a potential leader, as follows:
Academy or research
The approving body will verify that you are a leader or potential leader in one of the following disciplines: science, medicine, engineering or humanities. You will need to have:
- a suitable job offer as an academic or researcher, which must be:
- direct or guide an individual or group in a research or innovation project or program of work
- be responsible for leadership and development in academia, research or innovation
- an individual scholarship approved by one of the following:
- Royal Society, for Science and Medicine
- British Academy, for the humanities
- Royal Academy of Engineering
- a research grant approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
It is also possible, if you are not eligible under these routes, for your application to be peer reviewed by an approving entity.
Arts and Culture
To be approved under the arts and culture pathway, you will need to meet the approving body of which you are a leader or potential leader in one of the following:
- combined art
- s, dance, literature, music, theater or visual arts
- fashion design
- film and television, including animation, post-production and visual effects
The exact eligibility rules depend on the area in which you specialize; for example, those in Combined Arts, Dance, Literature, Music, Theater or Visual Arts must:
- have been working regularly in their field for the past five years
- produce work that will be published or performed internationally and that Arts Council England judges to be “outstanding”.
- demonstrate that their work is well known in at least two countries, if they run as leader
Those applying following the digital technology route must be approved as a leader or potential leader in the fields of financial technology (“fintech”), gaming, cybersecurity or artificial intelligence. This will be assessed by Tech Nation, who will determine whether you are classified as an “exceptional talent” or whether you have “exceptional promise.” To demonstrate exceptional talent, they will check that you:
- have a record of innovation where you have created or held a senior position in a product-led digital technology company
- you have a record of innovation where you worked in a new digital field or concept as an employee
- have contributed to the digital technology sector outside of work, for example, tutoring or collaborative projects
- have created or worked in a product-oriented digital technology company and have made technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the digital technology sector
have had research published or approved by an expert
How to Apply for a Global Talent Visa
The steps to apply for a Global Talent Visa are as follows:
- Apply for approval from an approved approving body in the UK: It is important to understand how to get approved for a global talent visa. As explained above, each approving body will have its own application process and eligibility criteria for a leader and potential leader. In most cases, you will need to provide evidence that you have a solid body of work and support from established experts in your area of work. You will have to pay an approval fee of £456.
- Once approved or if you have an eligible award (in which case you are exempt from approval), you will need to complete the online application form on the Home Office website; the form you need to fill out depends on whether you are switching from a different visa while in the UK or if you are outside the UK.
- Once you have submitted your application form, you will need to prove your identity. This can be done in both cases (you will be told which identity method to use when submitting your application):
- have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre: this is used to obtain a biometric residence permit. There is a small fee of £19.20 to cover the cost of scanning and processing your biometric data. Your biometric residence permit provides proof of residency in the UK.
- using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app to scan your ID.
- Pay the application fee of £152 – each dependent family member will also have to pay an application fee of £608. If you are from an EU country, the application fee may be reduced by £55.
- Pay the immigration health surcharge for the duration of your visa (currently £624 per person per year).
- Applications are generally processed within 3 weeks if submitted from outside the UK or 8 weeks if switching to this visa in the UK. This may take longer if further evidence is needed or if you are asked to attend an interview.
Prestigious awards track for global talent
You will be able to apply for a Global Talent visa without approval if you have an eligible award 3. Eligible awards include:
- Architecture (e.g. Pritzker Prize)
- Arts and culture (e.g. Booker Prize, Olivier Award)
- Digital technology (e.g. Turing Award)
- Film and television (e.g. BAFTA, Golder Globe, Grammy)
- Science, engineering, humanities and medicine (e.g. Nobel Prize)
Global Talent Visa Extension
Towards the end of your current Global Talent visa, you will be able to apply for an extension of your visa (or request permanent accommodation if you are eligible – see below) as long as the approving body that initially supported your application has not withdrawn its approval , and you can demonstrate that you have been able to earn money from your UK experience during your time here. To meet this last requirement, you will need to provide evidence demonstrating your earnings (there is no set minimum for this), in the form of:
- pay slips
- a letter from your employer confirming your earnings
- personal bank or building society account statements clearly showing payments made by your employer or a limited company of which you are a director
- an HMRC tax return showing details of the reportable taxable income on which tax has been paid or will be paid in a tax year
- an HMRC document produced by an employer showing your taxable income; like a P60
- an HMRC tax return, or;
- good dividends
The current fee for a Global Talent visa extension is £608.00 per person. You will also have to pay the immigration health surcharge of £624 per year.
Global Talent Visa with Indefinite Residency Permit (ILR)
Global Talent visa holders who intend to remain in the UK long-term can apply for Solution (ILR) 4, as follows:
- As a recognized leader after living and working in the UK on this visa for three years
- As a potential leader after living and working in the UK on this visa for five years
- It is important that you have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any year within the ILR qualifying period.
ILR confers significant benefits, including the elimination of the need to apply for additional visas, greater flexibility when it comes to work and study, and there is no obligation to pay the expensive immigration health surcharge. After one year of holding the ILR, it is possible to request citizenship British.